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« It's a leadership candidate, Frodo, but not as we know it... | Main | Hustings Report (11): Exeter »


Ed R

I don't know about what should be asked specifically, but here's my reasons.

I voted for Cameron because I like the modernising and Notting Hill Set wing and its ideas and direction for the party, and I think Cameron has proved himself the natural leader of that group. He presents the party as optimistic, talks about previously no-go areas of policy like the environment and Europe, and is 'sound' on all the key policy areas: he wants lower taxes, less European integration, controlled immigration. But that doesn't mean he's banging on about it. He knows how to present himself to an audience, he does know how to connect with a lot of younger voters (something the party urgently needs). His campaign website and my impression of his campaign generally is that it's been conducted in the most professional manner. I'm not one to be swayed by 'back-story', but if I was, Cameron's is the most compelling. I believe he is best placed to win support from Labour and the LibDems (plus UKIP too).

What I expect from Cameron. Well, frankly, I think Gordon Brown will be crowned close enough to the next election that he'll ride his honeymoon to a fourth Labour term, whoever is leader. But I expect Cameron to make dents into LibDem and Labour territory. I expect him to sweep up the votes of the young. I expect him to encourage defections in parliament from Orange Book LibDems and Blairite Labour people. I expect to see him reshape the party's media image so it's optimistic and not 'nasty', and appealing to the young. I expect him to put together a team that will allow for fast promotions for the best and brightest faces -- Gove, Villiers, Afriyie etc. But I also want to see the wisdom of the 'big beasts' taken up: Hague, Duncan Smith, Fox, Maude.

While I was unimpressed by a lot of Davis's campaign, and remain fairly unimpressed with Davis (as a potential leader, anyway), the things I liked about his campaign were: his strong leadership post-7/7 and his support for grammar schools (though the latter felt a little gimmicky to me).


Ed R - agree 100% with everything you say about cameron. On Davis, I don't like his talk of Grammar schools but I've liked his defence of our civil liberties, esp on ID cards since the General Election.

Most will have voted now, but I hope any still to do so, will go with David Cameron.

Mark Fulford

My tuppence:

For each candidate, how much of their policy did you agree with?

Were there any killer policy issues that you felt one candidate would deal with better than the other?


I would ask them to rank in order a list of criteria that are important for a party leader, eg:-
a] having the policies you agree with
b] outstanding orator
c] the ability to 'reach out' to floating voters, or a broad appeal
d] a strong leader, ie one who sticks to their principles
e] a team player, ie one who listens to advice.
f] a traditional Conservative
g] a moderniser.

I am sure others could add to this list.

A second question would be to ask them to list their own views on where they wanted the party to go regarding policy etc


Two areas the leadership campaign seems to have bypassed entirely are Northern Ireland (where I really have no idea what current party policy is) and our ideas on the future for public transport in the UK.
Both are areas where I believe the current government have performed extremely badly.

Michael McGowan

I didn't vote because, thankfully, I don't have a vote. I have a vote at local and general elections and while it has gone to the Tory Party in the past, it certainly isn't theirs for the asking in the future. What applies to me applies to a lot of my friends too.

By the way, has anyone read David Willetts' speech to Policy Exchange last Monday? It is quite excellent. Its main theme is how the babyboomers have stitched up the under-30's when it comes to wealth distribution and how this situation can only get worse unless politicians do something about it. One of the factors which Willetts blames is university tuition fees. Which doesn't sit easily easily with the apparent acceptance of Blair's tuition fees settlement by those members of the Tory Party who benefit from large dollops of inherited wealth.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Perhaps you should ask if people would have voted differently if they'd been given the choice of all four of the final contenders? (You could also ask if people thought the members should have had a free choice, rather than be restricted to the two candidates selected by the MPs.)

Michael McGowan

Malcolm, a very fair question. In reality, the Conservative Party has been heavily implicated in the Government's failures in both areas. In relation to Northern Ireland, the Conservative Party has been as keen as the Government to talk the talk about combating terrorism and organised crime while doing nothing to impede the progress of the Sinn Fein - IRA agenda.


I didn't have a vote as I only rejoined the party in September. Had I had the vote I would have voted for Cameron, however I have been very impressed with Davis.

One interesting question is which of your favourites opponents policies would you like to see your favourite take on board? For me it would be Grammar Schools, although i would like to see a wider and better thought out implementation plan than just plucking the number 20 from nowhere.


What will be interesting to see is developing regional power bases as in Germany. The idea of centralised national parties based on London is a recent innovation and probably going to lead to regional breakup as in Scotland. Scottish Labour has a different agenda from London Labour; and it looks as if the Conservative Party may become a different creature in The Home Counties from what may develop in the North, assuming the Conservatives ever gain a foothold in northern metropolitan areas.

The LibDems have perfected (of necessity) the coalition of local parties under a national umbrella, but I think we shall see the simple fact that the more control is exercised by the centre, the less influence the organisation (of any type) has at street level and that applies to policing just as much as to political parties.


For me it would be Grammar Schools, although i would like to see a wider and better thought out implementation plan than just plucking the number 20 from nowhere.

Or simply introduction of selection for different types of education based upon continuous assessment and examinations over a four year period.

Horses for Courses as they say.


I think the most important question is

Do you think the party needs to change to become electable?


John Coulson's earlier offensive comments have been deleted and those comments that responded to them.

Thanks to those who email alerted me about what he had written. Can I suggest that only one person makes it clear that any of his future posts are offensive and then we ignore him? He clearly craves attention and we shouldn't give it to him.


Rachael Sylvester, as I seem to recall, frequently appears on Radio 5. She is the sort of Tory that the BBC likes (but only up to the next election) and is quoted as working fortheTelegraph.She stated that Mr Howard had let the Tories down badly at the last election because of his attitude to immigration and asylum seekers and was too "Right-wing". Mr Howard is at present speaking on Talksport radio. He states that many more voted Conservative than in former years. His statement appears to be at odds with the views of Sylvester. The Tories have often,I believe, fooled themselves as to why they lose elections. At present some influential
Tories believe they have much in common with the Lib/Dims. I did not consider that Mr Howard was too "Right-wing". I considered that he was weak in not critisising the EU, especially when its spokesmen informed Mr Howard that he would not be able to implement his immigration policies. Thus I felt unable to vote "Conservative". I do not expect anything to change in the future. I expect the Tories to move to the Left.

In The Know

You lot may be in for a big surprise next tuesday......Will be a lot closer than everyone believes.

A significant 'silent' group have swung behind Davis in recent days. Don't believe me, talk to a few insiders.


I wouldn't be surprised even though I'm not in the know. I hope that it is close.

I liked what I read that Davis said to the CBI, I also agree with Anne Widdecombe's comments on Davis' website.

However, I'm also impressed that Cameron has so many MP's on side and that he is media friendly (at the moment).


In the know - what has been the factor for the last minute Davis surge?

I can see an argument for Cameron supporters being more enthusiastic and voting early, but nothing else.

Cameron has actually improved as the contest has progressed - if anything I imagine the swing would be for him?


Rick, I was surprised that you Think the Lib Dems have "perfected the coalition of local parties under a national umbrella". In my experience what they do is have one policy in one place and a totally different policy in another, and it needs to be more widely broadcast, which is being done by our party's excellent Lib Dem unit which monitors their stuff and keeps us all informed.

Pamela Anderson

At the York hustings one of my members who was Douglas Hurd's secretary spotted DC, who was surrounded by press and media just having finished a BBC interview. my member introduced herself and DC was so courteous and kind with her and spent time speaking with her about Witney and HoC.There were not many members about as it was early in the evening and he did not need to impress the agents and media crowd !. That to me demonstrated a man with a real feel for people of all ages.


I wasn't aware that they opened the envelopes before the ballot closed.Are you sure this is right?
Also Editor,what happened to the Exeter hustings report please? Has it taken place yet ,there doesn't seem to be any coverage in the press.


malc - I'm putting my faith in the YouGov polls, which were spot on in 2001 - and I can't see any reason why they would be wrong this time.


Sorry posted too soon!The Exeter report has just been published.Thank you James,good report.

In the Know

Just to make it clear, I'm ambiguous about whichever Dave wins, though I always like upsets and the look on that bloke's face who put 200 grand on DC, will be priceless.

The whispered vibes I've been getting is as follows :
Association officers, councillors, activists and youngsters are solidly behind Cameron.

The 'pacifists' (ie, those who pay their subs but don't involve themselves in the ass.) have swung behind Davis after toying with Cameron. This second group is far larger.

The further one gets away from the center, the stronger Davis' support gets and vice versa.

Either a member of DD's campaign was winding me up when he reckoned it would be close, or he knows something that's been missed.

Cllr Iain Lindley

Davis's activists can hardly tell everyone they've got no chance, can they?

I've seen a solid majority for Cameron in pretty much every sphere of the Party I have contact with, including the local Conservative Ladies' Buffet Club which can hardly be described as Notting Hill Set!

In the know - I think that's what worries me most.

I know a lot of activists who would instictively vote Davis, but have voted Cameron because they want the Party to appeal beyond themselves.

However, those members who wont get involved and dont interface with people on the doorsteps, dont realise how badly the Party brand is tarnished and the sort of change we need. My big fear is that they're casting votes having listened to themselves rather than floating voters. The rogue Times poll may be a warning sign.

My only comfort from your post is that you were told this by a Davis insider. Had it been someone from Cameron's team, then I would be worried. Also - if these members are the people we don't see, how do we know who they've voted for?

Again, my plea is that whoever wins, they need a clear mandate or we get off to a very shaky start.

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